Revel in the supreme beauty of nature that is entirely untapped and unspoiled by heading to the Great Himalayan National Park for the Sainj Valley trek. Located just 45 km from the Kullu Valley, the Sainj Valley in Himachal is a hidden treasure tucked away in the laps of the Himalayas. The calm surroundings here with its intense verdure, cozy cottages, and rich flora and fauna makes it a perfect heaven for those who wish to spend time away from the bustle of city life.
The Sainj Valley itinerary comprises a short two-day sojourn along an easy to moderate trail that goes up to an altitude of 6890 feet above sea level. Whether you are a thrill seeker or someone looking for a peaceful getaway in a lesser-known hideout within the Himalayas, this is the perfect choice. Experience a variety of landscapes including lush green grasslands and clearings and witness breathtaking views of snow covered peaks in the distance. Apart from the exotic National Park, you will traverse through the Shangarh meadows, the picturesque Sainj village, and along gorgeous waterfalls of the Kullu Valley and crystal clear Pundrik Rishi Lake, all of which will leave you completely mesmerized.
Maximum altitude: 2104 metres
Duration: 2 days
Rail head: Jogindernagar Railway Station
Airport: Bhuntar Airport
Snow Season: January and February
Service from: Aut
Base camp: Shangarh
Best season: Summers
Drive to Shangarh from Aut and Trek up to Tindadhar
Altitude: 985 meters, 1940 meters, and 2104 meters
Duration: 2 hours’ drive, 4 hours’ trek
You have to first reach the town of Aut from Delhi, located on the Delhi-Manali highway, 40 km ahead of Mandi. From here, you will be picked up for a drive to Shangarh which is the starting point of your trek.
Traverse through the 3 km long Aut tunnel as you head north-west towards Shangarh which is about 25 km away.
Begin your hike at the forest guest house at Ropa along a picturesque stream and rich flora and fauna including thick jungles of fir, deodar, spruce and rhododendrons.
Witness a variety of rare and exotic birds along the way including the blue magpie, little forktail, great hill barbet, among others.
Pass over several dams on the Sainj River, a few villages and enjoy views of the mighty Raktisar glacier once you reach the valley.
Once you reach the campsite at Tindadhar, you can rest awhile and go for a short hike through dense forests until you reach a beautiful waterfall at Nuhada. Head back to the campsite where you will enjoy a hearty dinner and retire for the night.
Trek up to Pundrik Lake from Tindadhar and back to Ropa followed by a return drive to Aut
Altitude: 1940 meters, 2095 meters, 985 meters
Duration: 4.5 hours’ trek and 1.5 hours’ drive
The second day of your Sainj Valley itinerary starts early with a wholesome breakfast after which you set out once again on your trail that took you to the waterfall the previous day.
Continue through dense forests and thick vegetation for about 40 minutes until you reach Sarahan Village. You can interact with the local villagers and witness the unique style of their houses.
Follow the trail further to cross the local village temple of Jehar Devta and arrive at a scenic clearing surrounded by farmlands, flower beds, and lush green pine and deodar forests.
As you go further you will reach scenic grassland by the beautiful Pundrik Lake. Spend some time here before heading back.
From here you will be driven back to Aut which will bring you to the end of the Sainj Valley Trek.
Trekking shoes: Get good quality trekking shoes with great grip and ankle support. It should also have the ability to handle snow.
Backpack/Day pack with rain cover: Carry a 20-30 liter backpack which comes with good hip and shoulder support and has sturdy straps as well as quick access pockets.
Clothing: wear layers to not only give you the most protection against the harsh weather conditions but also enable you to peel them off as and when required.
Base layer: 3 full sleeved, collared, and dry fit T-shirts to protect your arms and neck from sun burns. Quick dry material will help if you are caught in a sudden shower and also to quickly dry your sweat.
Insulation layers: 3 layers comprising 2 light fleece layers and 1 full-sleeve light sweater or jacket especially for the higher altitudes.
Outer layer: a water resistant padded jacket with hood to protect from the winds. Take 2 pairs of trek pants that are waterproof and have zippered pockets.
Other essentials: Sunglasses, suncap, woolen cap, synthetic hand gloves, 3 pairs socks, headlamp, trekking pole, rainwear, toiletries, cutlery, and 2 bottles of water each of at least 1 liter.
Medicines: Medicines for fever, indigestion, altitude sickness and pain. anti-inflammatory medicines, prescription medicines, antifungal powder, bandages, band-aids and ORS.
You have to first reach Aut in order to get to the starting point of your Sainj Valley Trek at Shangarh. There are several ways to do so.
This is the easiest and most economical way to reach Aut. You can take a bus to reach the destination as it is well connected to other states through roadways.
The nearest airport is Kullu-Manali which is about 95 km from Sainj. Other airports nearby are in Shimla, Delhi, and Chandigarh and once here, you can hire a taxi or take a bus to cover the remaining distance to Aut.
There are no direct rail routes here. You can take a train to New Delhi or Chandigarh from where you have to drive down or take a taxi or bus to your destination.
The Sainj Valley Trek is classified as an easy to moderate trek that can be undertaken by beginner level trekkers as well. However, in order to get the best experiences out of this tour and make lasting memories, follow a few simple tips.
Plan your Sainj Valley trek in the summer season around the months of March and April as this is when you will enjoy the best weather and the most amazing views.
Carry your camera and extra batteries to capture the beautiful sights of cottages and temples in the valley against a perfect backdrop.
Although this is considered an easy trek, it involves climbing to an altitude of almost 2,000 meters and thus requires a basic level of fitness and stamina. So start working on your fitness levels at least a month before the scheduled date of your trek.
Where is the Sainj Valley Trek located?
The Sainj Valley Trek also known as Shangarh is located about 45 km from Kullu in the state of Himachal Pradesh. It is an offbeat destination in the laps of the mighty Himalayas that takes you through stunning meadows and lush forests.
How difficult is the Sainj Valley Trek?
The Sainj Valley Trek has been classified as an easy to moderate one that can be undertaken by beginner level trekkers who have not had much experience in high altitude trekking. The trek however requires you to ascend to an altitude of almost 2,000 meters above sea level and thus requires a minimum amount of fitness and stamina.
What is the best time to do Sainj Valley Trek?
The best time of the year to do the Sainj Valley trek is in the summer months from late February through April. This is when the harsh snowy winters are over and the weather becomes quite pleasant. You will also enjoy the best views of the surrounding areas and clear blue skies during this time.
What is the highest altitude of the Sainj Valley Trek?
The highest altitude of the Sainj Valley Trek is about 2,104 meters above sea level. You can reach this height once you are at your campsite at Tindadhar from where the views are simply spectacular.